Matchups are an important part of fantasy football. This is not news. And that holds true as much in IDP leagues as in standard fantasy formats.
Eight weeks into the 2019 season, we have a large enough sample size to know that certain matchups are good and others aren’t. Given that the Tennessee Titans are tied for the NFL Lead in sacks allowed, it’s no stunner that they allow the most fantasy points per game to defensive linemen. If your pass-rushers face Tennessee, it’s time to release the hounds. Let the dogs out.
Similarly, we know that the Kansas City Chiefs are a garbage matchup for the linebacker position. They ranked at the bottom of the NFL in fantasy points given up to the position last year. And they rank dead last in fantasy points per game surrendered to linebackers again in 2019.
But sometimes, matchups can be a tad deceiving. For the season, the Carolina Panthers rank third in fantasy points per game given up to linebackers. But over the last month, only the New York Jets have given up fewer fantasy points per game to the position than the Panthers have.
Does that mean that Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans are no-gos this week when they take on the Panthers in Charlotte? Not necessarily. All it means is that while matchups are important, just like any other single factor it’s not the end-all be-all.
It pays to do your homework. Or know someone who does.
And wouldn’t you know it? It just so happens I know a guy.
Each week during the 2019 season, I’ll point out some Individual Defensive Players who could be set to exceed expectations this week (Studs), as well as some that for whatever reason are riskier plays than normal (Duds).
This isn’t necessarily to say that every “Stud” is a must-start (it depends on your other options) or that every “Dud” should be glued to your bench (just that the odds of a letdown week are greater than usual).
We have another four-team bye in Week 9. The Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints are all off. No Deion Jones, Sam Hubbard, Aaron Donald or Cameron Jordan this week.
Numbers in parentheses denote ranking in fantasy points allowed to that position in 2019 in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring.
IDP STUD OF THE WEEK
A.J. Johnson – ILB, Denver Broncos (vs. CLE) (4)
The 2019 season hasn’t exactly been filled with good news for the 2-6 Denver Broncos. But as Kyle Newman wrote for the Denver Post, the play of second-year linebacker A.J. Johnson has been a bright spot. He’s tallied 28 tackles, 1.5 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in four starts, impressing defensive coordinator Ed Donatell along the way.
“He’s a guy that keeps progressing, shows good instincts and out of the box he had some really nice plays for us,” Donatell said. “We still know there’s some shoring up to do in his play, but the arrow is going up.”
Thanks largely to the running of bruising tailback Nick Chubb, the Cleveland Browns have consistently been a top-five fantasy matchup for the linebacker position this year. Add in the fact that Todd Davis is banged up again, and Johnson could easily be set to see a boatload of tackle opportunities Sunday at Mile High.
WEEK 9 IDP STUDS
Mario Addison – DE, Carolina Panthers (vs. TEN) (1): Addison’s a big part of the NFC’s best pass rush, with 6.5 sacks on the season. The Titans have allowed a jaw-dropping 34 sacks this year, so the veteran edge-rusher’s a good bet to notch one in Week 9.
Ezekiel Ansah – DE, Seattle Seahawks (vs. TBB) (3): As much as it pains me to place even a modicum of faith in Ansah, he gets a Buccaneers team in Week 9 that has given up 28 sacks this season and the third-most fantasy points per game to defensive linemen.
Taco Charlton – DE, Miami Dolphins (vs. NYJ) (2): In less than half a season with the Dolphins, Charlton has as many sacks (4) as he tallied in over two years in Dallas. Like the Titans, the Jets have already surrendered 34 sacks this season.
Jon Bostic – ILB, Washington Redskins (at BUF) (5): Bostic’s the poster player for a guy who is a much better IDP option than NFL player. But both the well-traveled journeyman and Cole Holcomb draw a solid Week 9 matchup with the run-centric Bills.
Leighton Vander Esch – ILB, Dallas Cowboys (at NYG) (1): Vander Esch is nursing a sore neck and his numbers are down relative to his rookie year. But a plus matchup Monday night with the rival Giants offers a prime post-bye bounceback opportunity.
Mack Wilson – OLB, Cleveland Browns (at DEN) (2): Wilson’s been an underwhelming IDP option since being pressed into action by an injury to Christian Kirksey. But the rookie could be a good spot-start Sunday—the Broncos lead the AFC in fantasy points given up to linebackers.
Jamal Adams – S, New York Jets (at MIA) (5): Adams hasn’t had the production in 2019 he did a year ago, and the young safety was just dangled in trade talks. He wasn’t happy about that, and will take out his frustrations on the Dolphins Sunday.
Malcolm Jenkins – S, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. CHI) (6): Jenkins is an excellent NFL safety but matchup-dependent fantasy option. This week’s tilt with the Chicago Bears is a surprisingly good one—plus I smell an interception coming here.
Jabrill Peppers – S, New York Giants (vs. DAL) (4): I now live in a world where I’m recommending Ziggy Ansah and Jabrill Peppers in the same week. If Myles Jack was on the “Studs” list too I’d have to throw myself off an overpass. As it is, I feel dirty.